Jobs and Automation

Are you at risk of being replaced by artificial intelligence?

The rise of advanced AI tools such as ChatGPT and Stable Diffusion, which generates images based on text prompts, has generated fears that jobs would be substituted by the technology.

One of first studies into the impact of AI on the jobs market in the UK, carried out by the Department for Education (DfE), has concluded that consultants, accountants and psychologists are most exposed to the rise of AI.

Sports players, roofers and construction workers were among those least likely to be affected by the technology.

People with higher levels of education are more likely to be impacted than those with lower level qualifications.

The research refers to “exposure” to AI systems, meaning jobs may be aided or replaced by AI. However, careers that are aided by AI may also generate fewer jobs if it means technology can accomplish key tasks.

Official statistics divide professions in the UK into 365 categories, such as solicitors, librarians and nurses, although some jobs are categorised more widely, such as financial managers.

The DfE’s provided an “AI occupational exposure (AIOE) ” score to each job based on AI’s ability to replicate the skills required.

The scores range from around -2 to 1.5, with a higher score indicating a profession is more likely to be affected.

The DfE said it was generally believed that between 10pc and 30pc of existing jobs will be affected by AI, although new jobs will also be created to take advantage of the technology.

A study from US researchers earlier this year found that AI tools like ChatGPT were already taking freelance work away from copywriters and graphic designers.

The DfE said: “The report illustrates how the education system and employers will need to adapt to ensure the workforce has the skills necessary to benefit from this emerging technology.”

Men of the cloth have persevered for millennia, surviving the separation of church and state, the industrial revolution and multiple world wars.

Yet vicars and priests are now under threat from a very modern scourge: chatbots.

Jobs in the clergy are among the most exposed to the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), according to a government report.

Clergy members were ranked as the 13th most exposed to “large language model” systems out of the 365 categories of occupation studied.

They were deemed slightly less likely to be affected than local government administrators, but slightly more vulnerable than university lecturers.

The figures were based on what key skills are used in each profession, such as written comprehension and inductive reasoning, and how easily they could be replicated by AI.

The study may have missed unique aspects of individual professions and the research does not speculate how precisely the technology could influence each job.

Concerns about AI’s impact have increased in the last year as a result of advances in systems such as ChatGPT, which is already being widely used in the workplace.

Generative AI systems, which are capable of rapidly processing and generating text and images, are already disrupting the job market by leading to fewer opportunities for freelance copywriters and illustrators.

The DfE said its report showed that the education system and employers alike would have to adapt to provide more training as existing jobs are disrupted.

The report said it did not distinguish between jobs that were likely to be aided by AI and those that were likely to be replaced, and that it was based on a “number of uncertain assumptions”.

Economists had expected educated, white-collar workers to be the least exposed to the rise of AI before the arrival of ChatGPT, which has reversed assumptions about what jobs are vulnerable.

AIOE (AI Occupational Exposure and AI applications)

Felten et al (2021) have developed the AIOE measure based on Ai applications of AI that are likely to have implications for the workforce that cover the most likely andmost common uses of AI. Below is the list of AI applications.

Ai applicationDefinition
Abstract strategy gameThe ability to play abstract games involving sometimes complex  strategy and reasoning ability, such as chess, go or checkers, at a high level
Real-time video gamesThe ability to play a variety of real-time video games of increasing complexity at a high level.
Image recognitionThe determination of what objects  are present in a  still image.
Visual question answeringThe recognition of events, relationships , and context from a  still image
Image generationThe creation of complex images.
Reading comprehensionThe ability to answer  simple reasoning questions based on an understanding of text.
Language modellingThe ability to model, predict , or mimic human language.
TranslationThe translation of words  or text from one language into another.
Speech recognitionThe recognition of spoken language into text
Instrumental track recognitionThe recognition of instrumental musical tracks

Readers who are interested on the AIOE measure should read the following:

  1. Occupational, industry and geographic exposure to artificial intelligence: A novel dataset and its potential use. Strategic Management Journal, 42 (12).
  • E. Felten, M. Raj, and R. Seamans (2023). How will Language Modeller like ChatGPT  affect occupations  and industries?
  • DfE. The impact of AI on UK jobs and training. November 2023.